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The Invergordon Archive

Portlich Storehouse
The Invergordon Archive
Portlich Storehouse

I wonder if anyone can remember what the building was that is on the sea shore here, on the far right of this aerial shot of Portlich, Barbaraville, in 1975? At that time were there any foundations of a much larger structure?

I ask as this is the location of the Portlich Storehouse, 106 feet long, built in 1765 for the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates for the princely sum of £317 Sterling. The wood came from Glen Strathfarrar, the slates from Easdale, the hewn stone from the Quarry at Culbokie and the rubble stone from the Quarry at Cromarty. Many local tradesmen were occupied in the building of it. As well as the grain rents from the tenants of the New Tarbat estate, it held the flax being imported by Sandeman of Perth and Forsyth of Cromarty for locals to spin into yarn. It is now no more, but does anyone have recollections of this building or any earlier foundations?
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Picture added on 19 April 2016 at 17:10
No recollections, but a building is shown on this site on the Ordnance Survey, 25inch to the mile, 1st Edition,1855-1882. maps.nls.uk/view/75117367
The structure is described on the Canmore website as a Terrace, a row of adjoining houses.
Added by Ron Stewart on 20 April 2016
Thanks, Ron. If you zoom in on the OS building, as you say, maps.nls.uk/view/75117367, you can actually see the steps drawn in going up to the girnal on the east and west ends. I hadn't spotted those before. The original contract for building the storehouse had omitted these and an extra bill for £1.6.6 was added "To the Masson worke of Two Outter Stairs, one on each end of the Storehouse, not mentioned in the Contract". Hadn't spotted the stairs on the OS before, so thanks!
Added by Jim Mackay on 20 April 2016
Many thanks to Desmond Campbell of the Cayman Islands who put me in contact with his uncle, Ian Campbell, who grew up at Portlich (the house now known as the Sheiling) during the war and is now retired in Invergordon. During the war, each of these strips of land at Portlich was well-used. His family’s strip grew turnips, carrots, cabbages and all sorts of produce which local butcher Dalgarno would collect and take in muslin bags straight down the pier to sell to the Fleet, missing out all the middle men. The beach at Portlich turns from having enormous boulders dotted over it to suddenly being absolutely free, and this was because from this point westward the rocks were blasted to let the landing craft get in safely. Ian remembered playing down at the beach when a boy, and at that time the bit of land where the storehouse once was had low remnants of old walls protruding, now covered in mounds of tipped soil. The strip of land, at the shore end of which the storehouse stood, was owned by one Robertson, known as “Jimmy the Roller” as he drove the roller for the Council. He always kept his hen houses in the south west corner of this strip. While we were out on site, Ian pointed out the remains of two Barracuda planes which had touched wings and crashed in the sea, and, below Kilmuir Easter cemetery, the firing range where the Territorials would practice, the strays which missed the target (the mound of which is still there) safely losing themselves out on the beach beyond.
Added by Jim Mackay on 01 May 2016
Well! I am quite amazed to see these postings. Jim you have solved a minor mystery in my family ancestory research. My Great Great grandparents lived and died in Barbaraville but I have never been able to clarify the actual place on Census docs. It looks like "Porteich" but now I know where it really is. My Grandparents were William and Martha Morrison, (she was a Davidson from Glasgow). He was a dyker/mason and died in 1873. Co-incidently I discovered that the original name of the house I live in here in Sussex was the "Sheiling" and today if you visited you would see the new "Sheiling" sign that hangs outside the door!
Added by Bill Geddes on 03 August 2016
Thanks Bill. Originally Barbaraville was a "planned village" on feus from Kenneth Macleay of Newmore, to the west of the original fishing village of Portligh or Portenleich or Portleich or Portlich (and lots of other variations in old documents). In the 1830s, the Cromartie estate feued out more buildings on the east side. And the Balnagown Estate obtained a strategic route down to the Firth through the middle! In the earliest Census return of 1841 they are recorded as separate villages: “This District includes the Villages of Barbraville lying East of Pollo and the Village of Portlich lying East of Barbraville”. “Portleigh 24 houses & 90 persons” “Barbaraville 42 houses & 172 persons". After a while, though, the name of Barbaraville seems to have encompassed the whole village. Hope that bit of background is of interest!
Added by Jim Mackay on 04 August 2016
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